Can Makoto Uchida Revive Nissan Motor Co.?
Case Code: BSTR633
Case Length: 12 Pages
Pub Date: 2022
Teaching Note: Available
Organization : Nissan Motor co.
Industry : Automotive
Countries : Japan
Themes: Turnaround Strategy, Corporate Image & Identity, Restructuring
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts
The case discusses the challenges faced by Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. (Nissan) and the efforts its CEO, Makoto Uchida (Uchida), was making to revive the company. Much of the problems at Nissan were attributed to the arrest of the company’s then chairman, Carlos Ghosn, in November 2018 on charges of under-reporting his compensation and misusing company funds of US$140 million for his personal benefit. Nissan’s huge debt of US$80 billion, declining profits, and an ageing line-up of vehicles only added to its troubles.
To tackle all these challenges, Uchida launched a restructuring initiative known as the Nissan NEXT transformation plan in May 2020 in a bid to turn the company around. Under the plan, the company aimed to reduce ¥300 billion in annual fixed costs, reduce the number of vehicle models, cut production by 20% to 5.4 million vehicles per year, and close down some of its plants.
Even as Nissan was working to turn its business around, the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. The pandemic, which started in Wuhan, China, where Nissan had its Chinese headquarters, only compounded its problems. The automaker faced a decline in sales and the shortage of chips used in making cars led to a huge disruption in production.
Some analysts felt that Nissan also had to recover from the reputational damage caused by Ghosn, who had fled to Lebanon in December 2019, when he was out on bail in Japan. Some critics raised questions over the corporate governance procedures at Nissan, which they thought were weak, and over Ghosn breaking Japan’s securities law by giving wrong figures about his compensation to the board and accountants of Nissan.
In light of these challenges, what should Uchida and the senior management at Nissan do to keep the turnaround plan on track and ensure Nissan becomes profitable?
The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:
- Discuss the importance of restructuring in the turnaround of companies.
- Understand the issues and challenges in turning a company around.
- Appreciate the role of a leader in reviving the fortunes of a loss making company.
- Discuss the challenges faced by Nissan.
- Analyze the Nissan NEXT Transformation Plan adopted by Uchida in turning Nissan around.
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Nissan Motor Co.; Makoto Uchida; Carlos Ghosn; Turnaround; Restructuring; Nissan NEXT Transformation Plan; Expansion Strategy; Financial Misconduct; Corporate Governance; Brand Image; Covid-19 pandemic; Whistle-Blower; Electric Vehicles; Group Renault; Mitsubishi
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